Count sheep. That’s the advice given to people having trouble falling asleep—a clear indication that most don’t consider counting animals an exciting task. Yet the counting of animals is crucial to conservation efforts. Wildlife censuses help gauge population patterns and distributions across habitats and time.
After a three-hour ride on the back of a 125cc motorcycle from Djolu, a small town in AWF’s Congo landscape in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we came across a boisterous group of boys rushing up a trail through the dense woods carrying machetes and full of banter. They were without adult supervision, bare-chested, barefoot and barely bigger than the sharp, threatening instruments they carry.
For my third and final week in Tanzania, I had the privilege of spending time at the Manyara Ranch Conservancy. Previously owned by the Tanzanian government, the ranch was established by AWF in 2001 to address the threats of degradation and habitant fragmentation.
In many of our landscapes, it’s not unusual to come across an individual dressed in full traditional garb—with a cell phone clipped to his belt. On the one hand, this image is startlingly incongruous. On the other, it’s the embodiment of how this continent works: embracing its cultural history while also welcoming future innovations.